Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc., 514 U.S. 211, 30 (1995)

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240

PLAUT v. SPENDTHRIFT FARM, INC.

Breyer, J., concurring in judgment

INS v. Chadha, 462 U. S., at 959. But Justice Powell wrote only for himself in that case. He alone expressed dismay that "[t]he Court's decision . . . apparently will invalidate every use of the legislative veto," and opined that "[t]he breadth of this holding gives one pause." Ibid. It did not give pause to the six-Justice majority, which put an end to the long-simmering interbranch dispute that would otherwise have been indefinitely prolonged. We think legislated invalidation of judicial judgments deserves the same categorical treatment accorded by Chadha to congressional invalidation of executive action. The delphic alternative suggested by the concurrence (the setting aside of judgments is all right so long as Congress does not "impermissibly tr[y] to apply, as well as make, the law," post, at 241) simply prolongs doubt and multiplies confrontation. Separation of powers, a distinctively American political doctrine, profits from the advice authored by a distinctively American poet: Good fences make good neighbors.

* * *

We know of no previous instance in which Congress has enacted retroactive legislation requiring an Article III court to set aside a final judgment, and for good reason. The Constitution's separation of legislative and judicial powers denies it the authority to do so. Section 27A(b) is unconstitutional to the extent that it requires federal courts to reopen final judgments entered before its enactment. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.

It is so ordered.

Justice Breyer, concurring in the judgment.

I agree with the majority that 27A(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U. S. C. 78aa-1 (1988 ed., Supp. V) (hereinafter 27A(b)) is unconstitutional. In my view, the separation of powers inherent in our Constitution means that at least sometimes Congress lacks the power under Ar-

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